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700 Drug Tests On Russian Athletes Thwarted

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Hundreds of attempts to carry out drug tests on Russian athletes this year have been prevented, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has said.

The revelation comes just days before a decision on the country's participation at this summer's Olympic Games.

In a damning 23-page summary, WADA said more than 736 tests between 15 February and 29 May were declined or cancelled.

The reasons ranged from sample collection to athletes' whereabouts.

The report said doping control officers had also faced intimidation and threats of expulsion from the country by armed government agents when attempting to carry out drug tests in military cities.

Military cities were often given as a place of residence by athletes seeking to avoid drug testers because of the difficulty in gaining access to the areas, the report added.

The report detailed how one track and field athlete had been caught trying to provide a urine sample using a container inserted into her body.

"When she tried to use the container it leaked on to the floor and not into the collection vessel," the report stated.

The athlete subsequently threw away the container and then attempted to bribe the doping control officer.

Other examples of obstruction occurred during an athletics event.

One athlete was seen running away from a mixed zone in an effort to avoid being taken to doping control by a chaperone.

Another athlete left a stadium during a race and could not be found afterwards, the report said.

At the Russian National Walking Championship on 27 February, 15 athletes mysteriously did not start, withdrew or were disqualified, the report said.

In another incident, the entire Russian under-18 team at the Hockey World Championships were withdrawn en bloc and replaced by the under-17 team, reportedly due to use of the banned drug meldonium.

Meldonium, the drug which led to the recent tennis ban for Russian star Maria Sharapova, was involved in 49 of 52 doping cases logged between 15 February and 29 May.

The WADA report has been published just two days before the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is due to give its long-awaited decision on whether athletes from Russia will be allowed to compete at the Rio Olympics in August.

The IAAF suspended Russia from competition in November after a WADA report which detailed a systemic doping programme and corruption by sports officials.

In its bid to overturn the ban, Russia has announced a raft of reforms including the introduction of compulsory anti-doping classes in schools.

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